Helicopters Otago pilot and chief executive Graeme Gale said paramedics assisted a tramper with a severely damaged knee about 800m through steep bush terrain and some very steep steps to Maori Beach on Stewart Island about 1.50pm on Saturday.
The terrain was “gnarly” and the section of track where the tramper was injured was not well used, Mr Gale said.
Surrounded by bush, Rakiura Track was like many of the remote locations on the island — where helicopters were needed for rescues, especially if the patient needed to be taken to hospital.
The tramper had been lucky to be able to call for help on a cellphone, as there was limited reception in the area.
The daytime call also made it easier for the helicopter crew than attempting a night landing.
While it was unclear if the tramper had a personal locator beacon, the incident could have been “a different kettle of fish” if they had been unable to get a cellphone signal.
Now Covid-19 was less of a focus, more people were heading into the outdoors and the incident served as a reminder that personal locator beacons made great Christmas presents, Mr Gale said.